Lifetime Double Feature: Last Hours In Suburbia And Sexting In Suburbia
12:30 pm, October 8th | by Sarah Devlin
The Lifetime Network (“TV & Movies For Women”) typically gets a lot of attention when they do something really insane and/or awesome, like cast Rob Lowe as creepy wife-murderer Drew Peterson, or let Lindsay Lohan play Elizabeth Taylor, or hire an all-black cast for a truly great remake of Steel Magnolias, but the OG network for women is killing it with their original programming 24/7, 365. It’s in that spirit that I sat down this weekend to sample two of their latest original offerings marketed toward women: Last Hours In Suburbia and Sexting In Suburbia. Let’s see what kind of lessons we can learn:
Last Hours In Suburbia:
This fine film is set on the day before a straight-laced senior in high school who killed her fun-loving best friend in a car accident goes to prison. She can’t remember anything about the accident, but her mother (in a classic “Lifetime movie mom” wig) thought that rather than mounting a defense and going to trial, she could protect her daughter by having her take a plea bargain that gave her a two year sentence. Classic Lifetime movie mom stuff. The straight-laced girl, Grace, spends the day haunted by her dead friend Jennifer, as she tries to tick off items on her pre-prison to-do list (they include “Bills,” “Donate clothes” and “Eat some cake”) while Ghost Jennifer tries to convince her to retrace her steps and learn What Really Happened that night. As she investigates, Grace finds herself hoping that she wasn’t driving drunk after all and maybe didn’t kill her best friend.
As it turns out, the two girls went to a party, where Grace drank for the first time (choosing to start with all the half-empties on a random coffee table, like so many of us do (?)), got behind the wheel, turned around for about fifteen seconds while driving to say some mean stuff to Jennifer, and totally killed her after all. Whoops! It’s probably way better that she took the plea bargain instead of going to trial and getting 20 years. This is classic Lifetime storytelling, in which you realize afterward that the two hour movie could have been condensed into an episode of Law and Order and/or the moral universe of Lifetime movies is super weird. If you drink even one time, you will kill your best friend! This film also featured the always-welcome sight of a worried mother standing in the kitchen and sipping white wine from a crystal glass.
Sexting In Suburbia
That this double feature contains two different original films with “…In Suburbia” in the title was a happy accident, but an even happier incident is that the worried mother in both films is played by the same actress, Liz Vassey, wearing the same wig leftover from Last Hours In Suburbia. This is what I come here for. The lesson in this film for the ladies is that the only thing more dangerous in the Lifetime movie universe than alcohol is a cell phone, which can be used to send sexts, which can then be used to shame the sexter so intensely that she eventually hangs herself with a scarf. Aaaaahh, that was actually pretty sad.
The sexter, poor Dina Van Cleve, is dead for most of the movie, and so this time her mother is the one who must find out What Really Happened. And when she does, oh boy — it turns out that one of Dina’s classmates, a blonde cheerleader, was pretty competitive with her, and not so nice about all the sexting, and it looks like she might be the culprit. But then it turns out that it was Dina’s best friend who disseminated the sext to the blonde cheerleader so that she could finally be cool, but the blonde cheerleader’s mother saw it on her phone and then sent it to all of the blonde cheerleader’s contacts because Dina van Cleve’s general awesomeness has always been really hard on the blonde cheerleader. Moms, man!
In the end, Dina’s BFF gives a tearful speech at graduation (or…a regular assembly, it’s not totally clear), where a banner hangs that reads “KINDNESS MATTERS,” about how sexting might be bad but bullying people about it is worse, and then pledges to give up her phone for the rest of the semester (quelle horreur!) and invites the other students to do the same, and they all drop their cell phones into a plastic tub onstage while Dina van Cleve’s mother smiles through tears and an obvious facelift.
Lessons learned this week: Drinking is evil, cell phones are super evil, moms are always right (except when they’re also evil).
Well, there you have it. See you next time, for the one-two punch of A Mother’s Nightmare and Abducted: The Carlina White Story (Maaaybe with a side of Taken Back: Finding Haley. Truly, the network that keeps on giving.)
[Photo via Shutterstock]